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Directorate for Biological Sciences
January 6, 2005
SUBJECT: Research Experience for Teachers (RET): Supplement Opportunity
This letter is to call your attention to an activity that will enable K-12 science educators to participate in projects funded by the Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) at the National Science Foundation (NSF). The goal of the Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) activity is to enhance the professional development of K-12 science educators through research experience at the emerging frontiers of science in order to bring new knowledge into the classroom. BIO strongly encourages all its grantees to make special efforts to identify talented teachers who can participate in this RET supplement activity to integrate research and education.
We believe that encouraging active participation of teachers in on-going NSF projects is an excellent way to strengthen the science expertise of our nation’s teachers. Another goal of the RET supplement activity is to build collaborative relationships between K-12 science educators and the NSF research community. BIO is particularly interested in encouraging its researchers to build mutually rewarding partnerships with teachers at urban or rural schools and those at less well-endowed school districts.
A RET can be requested as a supplement to an existing NSF award or as part of a new or renewal NSF proposal. The RET supplement request should clearly articulate, in some detail, the form and nature of the prospective teacher’s involvement in the Principal Investigator’s ongoing or proposed research. For example, the teacher may participate in the design of new experiments, modeling or analysis of experimental data or other activities that will result in intellectual contributions to the project. Since it is expected that the RET supplement experience will also lead to transfer of new knowledge to classroom activities, the RET supplement description should also indicate what sustained follow-up would be provided to help in translating the teacher’s research experience into classroom practice. A brief biographical sketch of the teacher should also be included.
The duration of the RET supplement will generally be one year and the project may be carried out during summer months, during the academic year, or both. For guidance and inquiries concerning the RET supplement, including the due date, the Principal Investigator should consult with the Program Director of his/her particular NSF award, or the cognizant Program Director for the program solicitation to which s/he is submitting a proposal.
An application for the RET supplement to an existing NSF award should be submitted via the FastLane. After logging in to Proposals, Awards & Status, the Principal Investigator(PI)/Co-Principal Investigator(Co-PI) Management, What Do You Want To Work On?" screen will appear. Click on "Award and Reporting Functions," then click "Supplemental Funding Request." The procedure is the same as described in the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) supplement. The Principal Investigator enters the description of the proposed RET supplement activity (limited to 3 pages), including a separate 2 page CV of each science educator (submitted in the Supplementary Docs section), justification of the funds requested, and a prepared budget. The budget includes a teacher’s stipend and up to $1,000 for the cost of materials, equipment, software and other supplies for developing classroom instructional materials. An administrative allowance (limited to 25% of the teacher’s stipend only) is allowed for partial reimbursement of indirect costs. The total cost of the supplement is generally limited to $10,000 per teacher. This same information should be supplied for a RET supplement request that is incorporated into a new research proposal.
Normally funds may be available for up to two teachers, but exceptions will be considered. Participation of science educators who are members of underrepresented groups (underrepresented minorities and persons with disabilities) is strongly encouraged. The decision to award a supplement will be based on internal review by the Program Director and availability of funds in a particular program.
NSF encourages you to visit K-12 educators in your local school district and region, including those participating in NSF-supported activities (see awards list for the Division of Elementary, Secondary, and Informal Education), to make them aware of this RET supplement opportunity as well as other NSF research and educational projects. We trust that your time and efforts will strengthen the teaching of science, mathematics, and engineering and enhance the development of the U.S. science and engineering workforce.
Mary E. Clutter
The National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 22230, USA